Shriners Hospitals for Children Is Featured on ‘General Hospital’

The hospital was worked into the storyline.



Confession: I’ve been watching General Hospital since I was in the womb. (Literally—thanks mom!) So imagine my surprise after firing up my DVR late Thursday night when all of a sudden the major characters were talking about transferring a patient—another major character—to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston. Wait, what? Pause, rewind!

A little background: General Hospital takes place in a fictional New York town called Port Charles. Little Spencer Cassadine, a young boy whose spoons are of the highest quality silver, was injured in a fire that occurred during his birthday party. He suffered from smoke inhalation and burns on his face and body. At the hospital, Spencer’s father was getting an update on his son’s prognosis. Now, begin scene:

“His needs will be better served by Shriners Hospitals for Children. They provide critical, surgical, and rehabilitative pediatric burn care regardless of a family’s ability to pay,” says resident psycho and hospital Chief of Staff, Dr. Liesl Obrecht.

“Money is no object. I only want the finest care for Spencer,” says Spencer’s dad, Nikolas Cassadine, a stuck up prince who lives in a castle on an island just outside of town.

“And that is what he’ll receive. Shriners Hospitals for Children have world-renowned doctors who specialize in treating patients like Spencer. I’ve spoken to the facility in Boston. I’d send my own child there,” Obrecht says.

“So would I,” chimes in the always whiny nurse Elizabeth Webber. “Spencer will receive the very best care there.”

End scene.

It’s nice to see a local hospital that does extraordinary work get national attention. It was a little strange to see it worked into a storyline, rather than just having a PSA at the end—there was that, too—but Misti Dragano, vice president at First Degree, a company that handles the advertising and fundraising for Shriners, says that the partnership with ABC is a part of the “Love to the Rescue” campaign.

“We wanted to introduce Shriners Hospitals nationally around the ‘Love to the Rescue’ campaign, which kicked off in February,” Dragano says. “[Shriners Hospitals] are experts in pediatric specialty care. We wanted to integrate it into a storyline in an authentic way.”

Shriners is headquartered in Tampa, Fla., and has 20 locations in the U.S., including Boston.

“Boston was chosen to represent all of Shriners because of its close proximity to [the fictional town where General Hospital takes place] Port Charles, New York,” Dragano says. “It’s also one of four burn centers.”

ABC consulted with Shriners’ doctors to make sure the medical information is being portrayed accurately. “They asked for some of our medical experts to review the scripts,” Dragano says. “They really wanted to get it right.”

The storyline is going to unfold over the next couple of weeks, and Dragano says that real Shriners’ patients have walk-on roles in the upcoming scenes.

“General Hospital worked with Shriners to accurately portray this story and raise awareness for all the good they do,” says ABC rep Heather Jones.

Check out the scene in full below: